Artie O’Daly is a super talented actor and writer. His latest film ‘Bad Boy’ (and it’s sequel ‘Bad Boy Comes Out’) have become huge hits.
And it’s not hard to see why. Both short films (they each clock in around the 5 minute mark) are exceptionally acted. There’s a great chemistry between Artie, who plays Scott and his co-star Tony Harth who plays Mack (the titular bad boy character). Their connection really elevates the films and make them so much fun to watch.
But (for me at least) it’s the solid script, packed with zippy one liners and witty banter, that lays the true foundation for awesomeness. I’ve always thought the world needs a gay version of Liz Lemon (from 30 Rock – if you don’t know what I’m talking about, google it now!)
In the ‘Bad Boy’ series, Artie’s character Scott is that kind of guy.
It’s so refreshing to see a gay portrayal that in some ways, doesn’t really fit into any of the old, preconceived notions or stereotypes of many of the gay characters we’ve seen before. Scott is … wait for it … just an “average” gay guy.
Which I really love. Because as an “average” gay guy (or a gay Liz Lemon as I may or may not like to think of myself), I think that “average” (I’m going to stop using quotation marks from now on) gay guys ROCK!
I mean, I have nothing against muscly gay dudes, or social media obsessed millennials, or twinks, or bears, or any other type of traditional gay character we’re used to seeing on screen. It’s just that I don’t fit into any of those labels. I don’t see me in them. I’m just good ol’ average Liz…I mean me.
This is ‘Bad Boy’
Another cool aspect of ‘Bad Boy’ is that for most of the film, you don’t even know whether Scott or Mack are gay or not. It’s nice that gayness can be underrated and just slipped in, as opposed to being a big, dramatic focal point.
And don’t worry, I’m not giving away any spoilers here.
There’s an awesome twist in each film that I guarantee you will not see coming. Which again, speaks to the brilliance of the writing. I love it when I think I’m being taken down one road (say Rodeo Drive) and I end up on some dimly lit backstreet at 3 in the morning with a half eaten pizza slice thinking ‘I don’t even eat pizza, how did this even happen?’
This is the follow up ‘Bad Boy Comes Out’
I recently had the opportunity to speak with the very talented Mr O’Daly. I wanted to find out what inspired him to write ‘Bad Boy’, as well as his thoughts on being out in the film industry, the importance of LGBT visibility and his secret celebrity crush (so yeah, covering all the major bases).
Little Gay Blog – So, you’ve been acting for 10 years and recently began writing. What inspired you to get into the writing side of things more?
Artie – It’s kinda crazy, but a thank you card to Dana Delany is what inspired me to write more.
Most people probably know Dana from “Desperate Housewives” – or straight guys know her from the movie “Tombstone”. I was a stand-in on her ABC show “Body of Proof” for two seasons.
On the last day of shooting, I gave her a thank you card, you know, just to say thanks for being such a positive force on set and that I enjoyed getting to watch her work. Things like that.
A couple hours later, she comes up to me and says, “That thank you card was really well-written. Have you ever thought of being a writer?” And, I mean, I don’t know about you, but if Dana Delany tells me to consider something, I’m damn well going to consider it!
Shortly thereafter, a friend wanted to collaborate on a short. It turned out really well, and it’s been non-stop since then. And now I literally send Dana every single thing I make for her approval. I’m hoping one day I can thank her when I win an Emmy. Or buy her a bottle of wine. Whichever’s easier.
I watched your two latest shorts (that you both wrote and star in), Bad Boy and Bad Boy Comes Out – and absolutely loved them! For people yet to see them, can you explain what they’re about?
Thank you! And you bet! They’re porn. Hardcore gay porn with really hot porn guys just being super porny … I’m hoping my lie will get us maximum views.
Okay, no, they’re comedic short films about these two characters – Scott, the adult “average guy” a.k.a. me, and Mack, the young “bad boy”, played by Tony Harth.
“Bad Boy” is about Scott being nervous to send his daughter out on her first date with this guy, and “Bad Boy Comes Out” is about Mack wanting to come out of the closet to Scott. But neither one go as expected. You can watch one without ever having seen the other – but hopefully people wanna watch both!
Did I mention they’re porn? (They’re not porn.)
The comments section on YouTube is going crazy (in a good way) for both shorts. Many people are suggesting (and hoping) that perhaps Bad Boy might become a web series. Where would you like to see it go?
I know! It’s crazy! I’ve lost track of the number of people who’ve asked for more shorts or said they hope it becomes a series. It’s unbelievably awesome.
The second short really established the dynamic between these two guys. The way Mack keeps calling Scott “Daddy Scott” and how he’s had this insane childhood that shaped him into the guy he is now – I would love to see what would happen in a series about a relationship like that. Like the “Odd Couple” except it’s a gay, platonic, May/December, daddy/son relationship. How’s that for a pitch?
What inspired you to write Bad Boy?
Tony is a recent arrival to Los Angeles. We met doing a play and he was like, “Be my mentor. Everyone else has said no.” And I was like, “You’re cute. Sure.”
He’s sought advice from me on actor things like headshots, agents, those sorts of things. And then when it came to on-camera footage, he was like, “I want something where I’m playing a bad boy.” And I was like, “Well, I know how to write and edit and put something together. I’ll do it if I can be in it and make it a whole short.” And he was game.
So my challenge was to write a bad boy character but make him funny ’cause we both want to work in sitcoms. When the twist popped into my head, I ran with it, and it turns out people like it.
But NEVER did I expect that two months later it would be at 300,000 views on YouTube and have inspired us to make a follow-up short.
I wasn’t thinking “series” at the time. But, awesomely, that’s where it’s headed.
Have you always been out in your career and have you ever experienced any issues or negativity professionally for being out?
I’ve been out as long as I’ve been an actor but nobody ever asked me if I was gay, so I have no idea if casting directors knew or not, or if it influenced whether they would audition me.
It’s only now when I’m creating my own stuff that it’s more at the forefront because I work to incorporate gay characters and themes into my writing, whether it’s my series “Successful People”, where I play a gay man who never really broke into the gay community, or something less overt like “How to Get Featured on Deadline”, where it’s never stated that I’m gay, but my character loves Lauren Graham in a gay-fan way.
But still, I audition for and play straight roles all the time. In the aforementioned play where I met Tony, I played this real douche of a straight guy who cheats on his wife with every sorority girl he can find. So, yeah… I’d say it’s all been a-okay. And personally I view it as an asset.
How important is LGBT visibility to you in your work, and what are the main challenges when it comes to writing and portraying gay characters?
It’s extremely important to me because I remember growing up and not seeing characters that reflected me on screen.
It blows my mind that it’s taken this long for studios to realise minorities of all kinds might actually, I don’t know, pay money to see themselves on screen. Because of that, the majority of the gay content over the years has been really low-quality because the major studios weren’t making it.
So the main challenge I face when I’m writing is to make it good. I always strive for my projects to be of the highest quality. I’m not saying I hit that benchmark every time, but it’s my goal. I don’t want any more shoddy gay content. I want entertainment that is just like every other high-caliber short or web series or sitcom out there but with gay sensibilities to it.
That’s what I’m trying to make my YouTube channel Rumble Strips into – a destination for gay-themed content of that standard.
And lastly, a few quick questions:
Favourite movie of all time?
The War of the Roses. I saw it in the theatre as a kid and my life was permanently changed.
The last book you read?
Currently reading The Devil in the White City and it’s engrossing and insane and frightening and TRUE.
But the last book I read front-to-back was called something like, “Swim, Whale, Swim!” It’s a kids book. I was reading it to kindergarteners. Okay, that’s a lie. It was a pleasure reading for myself and the kindergarteners just happened to be listening as I read out loud to myself. But it was great.
Secret celebrity crush?
Norah Jones. I LOVE HER. But, okay, I don’t want to, like, “be” with her because, you know, she’s a girl. But I sure would like to spend a whole lot of time with her and have her be like, “Oh, Artie, I love you”.
But then also I haven’t gotten over my crush on this guy named Garrett Jacobs who was on “American Idol” this year. He’s so gorgeous, I don’t even remember what his voice sounds like.
One thing people would be surprised to find out about you?
My best friend is consistently shocked I like beer. Granted, I was the “fruity drink” guy for a number of years, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been drinking beer now and she still hasn’t accepted it.
So I guess I have to go with that because maybe it’s not just her? Maybe people around the world look at me and think, “That guy would never order a beer!”??
Next place you’d like to visit on vacation and why?
The ABBA Museum!!! Because who wouldn’t want to go to the ABBA Museum?!?! It’s a whole museum! Of ABBA!! If I could live there, I would.
About Artie O’Daly
Artie O’Daly was raised in Diamond Bar, California – one of the seemingly few Los Angeles-bred actors currently living in Los Angeles.
As a child, a friend of his father’s worked as a cinematographer and invited him and his family to the sets of shows such as The Love Boat, Dynasty 2: The Colbys, and Perfect Strangers. Meeting cast members, watching scenes be filmed and walking around the stages created not only his earliest memories but also his desire to act.
He grew up writing plays starring his best friends (a.k.a. his stuffed animals) and making short films starring his living best friends (a.k.a. his pets).
He attended the Acting Conservatory at SUNY Purchase after beginning with the theatre program at Fullerton College, and holds a BA in Theatre Arts from California State University.
He has gone on to be “that guy who played that part on that one episode” of such series as Modern Family, Silicon Valley, The Odd Couple, Scorpion, The Big Bang Theory, Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Castle, Chuck, Pushing Daisies, Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, and recurred on series such as The Haunted Hathaways and Scrubs.
He is the co-star and co-writer of the popular short form comedy series Successful People on Amazon, the second season of which was featured on Amazon’s “Trending TV” list the week of its release. He is also the co-writer and co-star of the comedic digital series How to Get Featured on Deadline, which, true to its name, had each episode featured on Deadline’s home page.
On YouTube, he is known as one-half of the musical covers & comedy duo SKIP & TERRI with the vocalist (and former SUNY Purchase classmate) Theresa Ryan, whose videos have racked up tens of thousands of views. They are also the creators of a series of comedic music videos for the original songs “You’re My Lauren Graham”, “Hag (You Make Me Wish I Was A Gay Man)” and “Fashion!”.
And now, he can add ‘Bad Boy’ and ‘Bad Boy Come Out’ to his impressive list of accomplishments. At the time of writing this article, both short films were heading towards 500K+ views on YouTube.
So, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out both films (scroll up, keep going, you’re almost there, there you go!)